Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

26 September 2012

Chinese Factor

When I was a little boy playing in the dusty playground in my village our favorite game was 'Going to Tibet' where I being one of the strongest get to be tradesman. There would be a few friends with me carrying loads of scraps because they were my horses. Rest of the boys will be either play Chinese army or Tibetan andos (meaning guerrilla force). These two forces would ambush on my caravan, while I would have to escape their territory to earn my fortune and win my freedom- and to prove myself as the strong among village boys.
This game of 'Going to Tibet' was inspired by true stories, where our traders tell us the stories of how they escaped the horse-eating Chinese army to illusive andos.
For a northern Bhutanese 'Going to Tibet' is the way of living, struggle for survival and a business that runs down the bloodline. My father crossed those mountains so many times, but his life ran shorter than his ambition and had to leave us in the hands of fate. His son was only a year old when he breath his last, he didn't wait for me to pass his secret maps. Perhaps he must have passed them through his genes but I went to school to draw my own map.
Every other neighbor goes to Tibet, though we lost our last family tradesman. Bhutanese had their first pinch of salt from across those mountains. From what used to be self-sustaining business, it grew in large scale trade and big merchants in Thimphu rely on our people for their business. Every household in Bhutan would either have a flask or a blanket that came on the horseback from across those mountains.
The trade was marked illegal in modern times and traders started hiding from their third hunters-Bhutanese army along the border. It became a risky business but what else could our people do in the place where only wheat grew? But never in my entire life have I seen media covering the story of this black business across the mountain, and what Kuensel reported on 18th September about the four traders arrested in Bumthang surprised me. What does it mean after all these years? Is it the impact of new relation with China? I don't see a reason beyond Chinese factor and I am already worried if the factor is going to affect the whole mountains. How black is this black business that keeps so many families warm along those cold mountains?

08 August 2012

The Great Wall of China in Wangdue

It's still hard to digest the fact that we have lost Wangdue Dzong during our time; the time when we have roads, mobile phones, fire engines and the time when we pride in having modern education and computer technology. Harder still is the fact that the Dzong withstood nearly 400 years in the hands of people who didn't wear shoes.
Photo by Yeshey Dorji
Many fingers were pointed at this and that but everybody looked helpless in their own rightful corners. One fine day it dawn on me that perhaps we were really helpless. It wasn't in our humanly hand anymore. Now we have walked too long in shoes and too far from our shoe-less ancestors to fully understand where we went wrong.

A Dzong is not just one huge structure a spark of fire could burn down. It's the living history, it's divine artwork, it's the storeroom of Bhutanese faith, and it's home to gods and deities. How could something like fire destroy something as great as Dzong? But when it does happen, when a spark of fire brings a dzong down, there are reasons beyond fire and accident. It's a sign!
The sign could be interpreted in many ways depending on the depth of ones mind; Some might see it as a sign of something or so many things that already happened, while some will look at it as a sign of something that is going to happen. All interpretations are based on believes and therefore won't have solid evidences.
A segment of The Great Wall of China
From where I am, with my ordinary eyes and ordinary depth of mind and without any solid evidences, the ruins of Wangdue Dzong looks to me like a small segment of The Great Wall of China. The more I tried to ignore the more it resembled that wall. What has China got to do with our Dzong the ruin of our Dzong? The only connection I saw was that our prime minister was in Rio, Brazil shaking hands with the Chinese prime minster when the Dzong was destroyed. Was that handshake so significant? Could the fire be a sign related to our friendship with China? Could it be reminding us of the Tibetan History? or Perhaps more importantly warning about our own future?